Running to make the world a safer place - Katie Turner

By Katie Turner

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My dear friend Claire McFarlane has a project called Footsteps to Inspire. Claire is running 16km in 230 countries in 5 years to raise awareness about sexual violence. Claire is a survivor of a brutal rape and now dedicates her life to helping victims become survivors and tackling the issue of sexual violence head on by taking the taboo away from the discussion. Claire is an inspiration to me in both life and running. I knew Claire in high school and fate (and Facebook) brought us back together 20 years later when we both happened to be in South Africa at the same time.

I am lucky enough to be surrounded by many inspirational people who support my running efforts even when I struggle to maintain motivation and make life enjoyable.

They have constantly encouraged me to believe in myself which helped me to complete the 22km Ultra Trail Australia run in the Blue Mountains, Australia, in May 2018.

I am next running the Gold Coast Half Marathon (21km) on 1 July 2018.

I am asking that you support me in raising money for Claire's project which is entirely self funded. Claire is trying to make the world a safer place for us all.

If you can't afford to financially support Claire, then please like and share Facebook page. I believe everyone will find Claire's story touches them. Please read Claire's story below.

What if you could make the world a safer place and help end sexual violence?

We all know someone who has been raped or sexually abused…it might be you, it might be your family or even someone close to you. And most often, they haven’t told you so you can’t help them. Shame, fear of judgement and taboo are just some of the reasons why most survivors remain in silence.

Did you know that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men and 230 million children each year are sexually assaulted. That’s 631,000 children a day!

What if we could create a safe space for the people we care about, our children and even ourselves, to be heard and believed?

We can!

With your support, the Footsteps To Inspire message can reach more countries and you get to help create that safe space.

Hello, I’m Claire McFarlane

On 18 July 2016, I set-off from South Africa with the goal to run 16 kilometres of beach in every country and dependency of the world (that’s 230 countries) to promote peace and help end sexual violence. I’ve called the movement Footsteps To Inspire. It is a world first, both as an expedition and social cause.

I rarely run alone and have noticed a common trend: people want to talk about sexual violence, they just don’t know how to. Through Footsteps To Inspire, it feels like I'm creating that safe space for conversation and understanding.

Why am I doing this?

In 1999, I was brutally raped and left for dead on the streets of Paris. My attacker was caught 10 years later through DNA. What followed was a long, costly struggle through the French justice system that only ended in October 2015. The ordeal lasted 16 years.

I chose to open up about my story in 2014 and was surprised by how many survivors reached out to me from all over the world - women, men and children. Each one with a different story of sexual violence. Many breaking their silence for the very first time. I realised how deeply this issue is affecting the world and how many people still suffer in silence. I knew then that my story had a bigger purpose and it was time for me to help others. So began Footsteps To Inspire.

Watch my TEDx talk to learn more about my experience in Paris.

I have already travelled alone to 36 countries and run on 37 beaches.

I know it may sound strange but there is nothing else I’m meant to do in the world right now. In 2016, I sold everything I had to raise enough money to get me to the first 20 countries. Through careful planning and some in-kind support, I reached a further 16 countries. There are still 194 more countries to go. I can’t do it alone and need your help to keep going.

Nothing about this journey is easy, but what expedition isn’t?

In every country, I hear stories of horror and sometimes stories of hope. I link with local communities, organisations, government services and survivors to talk peacefully and understand what the challenges are for them in their country. Many join me as I run 16 kilometres, barefoot, along a stretch of beach, lake or river and I will keep doing this until I have run in every country and dependency of the world.

Is Footsteps To Inspire leaving an impact?

Yes, absolutely. When I started out, I had a vision...through beach running I could bring people from all walks of life together, to feel safe and to talk freely about sexual violence. This is exactly what is happening, and even more than that. In so many countries of the world it is really hard for people to have a voice and speak out publicly. Through the Footsteps To Inspire movement, people can come together without the fear of being punished because in the end we are running, we are peacefully connecting and we are using movement to create a movement.

In Papua New Guinea, 200 people joined me for the run eager to be part of this collective voice and many asking if it could become an annual event. In Tanzania, villagers traveled over 150km to be at the run, passionate about the cause and committed to making it happen every year. In Nicaragua, the Hilton Hotel paid for a bus so that their staff could join me for the run 200km away.

I had no idea I'd leave such an impact when I started out. It's these little moments when I get to change a life that keeps me going.

Footsteps To Inspire has become a global peace movement that will live on even after I’ve run in all 230 countries.

You can be part of this movement and help me reach the next 10 countries!

DONATE by simply clicking on the right hand side of this page.

If you have a business looking to get behind a worthy cause and want to sponsor me for a few countries, please use the same donate button and I’ll be in contact to chat about ways of promoting your kind support.

If you would like to become part of the Footsteps To Inspire team and dedicate your next sporting event to raising funds for cause, please send me a direct message. It would be awesome to have you as part of the tribe.

Even though I don’t know where the next dollar is coming from, I trust completely that it will all work out and generous hearts like yours are going to help me create safe spaces in all 230 countries.

If you are curious to know more about how Footsteps To Inspire works and the upcoming countries, please head over to the website:

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and welcome to the Footsteps To Inspire movement!

Let's be an epic force and make a difference one footstep to inspire at a time!

Thank you!

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Katie Turner